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Trans Alta price increase criticised

19 July 2000 Media Statement

Trans Alta price increase criticised

Criticism by Grey Power of Trans Alta's latest round of power price increases has the full support of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Trans Alta has increased fixed charges by up to 92% for some customers. In Christchurch, Trans Alta's fixed line charges are up from 30 cents per day to either 52 cents or 58 cents per day, depending on the plan a customer joins.

Jim Anderton says small users are penalised by Trans Alta's fixed line charge increases.

"The people who are hit by this are the most frugal electricity users, such as superannuitants who are careful with their heating bills.

"Power companies should be encouraging consumers to conserve energy and rewarding conservation-conscious and frugal customers. But Trans Alta is punishing small consumers and punishing energy efficiency. It's completely unacceptable."

Jim Anderton released his personal power account to illustrate Trans Alta's over-charging. Independent analysis of the account shows he would save 12% if he switched to First Electric and about 7% through Meridian.

"If publicly–owned companies can offer lower prices, then Trans Alta should be able to as well. It is unacceptable for a large foreign-owned multi-national like Trans Alta to take advantage of the difficulties power consumers have in switching companies.'

Jim Anderton will contact SOE Minister Mark Burton and Energy Minister Pete Hodgson to discuss how the publicly-owned electricity retailers could co-operate better with consumer-owned lines companies to provide better protection for small consumers.

ENDS

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